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Navy Taking a Second Look at A Five-Inch Guided Round

USS Nitze (DDG 94) fires its MK-45 5-inch/54-caliber lightweight gun on May 12, 2014. US Navy Photo

USS Nitze (DDG 94) fires its MK-45 5-inch/54-caliber lightweight gun on May 12, 2014. US Navy Photo

This post was updated from an earlier version to include a statement from Raytheon.

The Navy’s surface warfare community is taking a second look at a guided shell that could be fired from existing ship board guns as part of the service’s recent focus on expanding the combat power of the Navy’s surface ships, USNI News has learned.In May, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) issued a request for information (RFI) for companies to submit information for a guided round that can be fired from the service’s Mk 45 five-inch guns found on the service’s guided missile destroyers and cruisers.

The RFI is looking for a maximum 61-inch round that would supplement, “Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) / Land Attack missions, and increase capabilities for Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW), including against Fast Attack Craft (FAC) and Fast In-Shore Attack Craft (FIAC),” according to the document.

Naval Sea Systems Command was quick to say that the RFI was no means a restart to look for a guided round.

“RFIs are not the same as [request for proposals], and while the former can potentially lead to the latter it is too early to make this conclusion,” according to a Monday statement from NAVSEA provided to USNI News.
“We are curious to see what’s out there and RFIs keep us up to date with the latest in technology so if we need to make a decision on capability, we’ve researched available options.”

The examination of a five-inch guided round follows the mostly successful development of BAE Systems 155 mm Long-Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) for the advanced gun system on the Zumwalt-class destroyers (DDG-1000).

A promotional oil painting of a BAE Systems Long-Range Land Attack Projectile. US Naval Institute Photo

A promotional oil painting of a BAE Systems Long-Range Land Attack Projectile. US Naval Institute Photo

“When we’re developing the technology for the 155mm (six inch), the question I asked the team was ‘If it’s good for a six-inch mount, is it good for a five inch mount?’ I think the answer to that is going to be yes,” Rear Adm. Thomas Rowden, director of surface warfare (N96) for the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) told USNI News in a Jan. 9 interview.
“If we can do it cost effectively, then we’d be foolish not to extend the range of those weapons to about five times of what we’re getting now.”

The new RFI comes six years after the failed development of Raytheon’s five-inch Extended Range Guided Munition (ERGM). The program was canceled in 2008 after a tortured 14-year development program.

BAE Systems told USNI News it planned to submit its internally developed Multi Service – Standard Guided Projectile (MS-SGP) in response to the RFI.

“When fired from a Mk 45 Mod 4, our MS-SGP will deliver fires to stationary or moving targets out to 54 nautical miles,” said Tom Pfenning, BAE Systems, Director – Munitions Programs in a Friday statement to USNI News.

Raytheon also submitted information on on its Excalibur guided projectile, a company spokeswoman told USNI News on June 4, following an earlier version of this post.

“Raytheon has submitted a response to the U.S. Navy’s RFI for extended range guided projectile,” read the statement.
“Raytheon has demonstrated the ability to develop and produce an affordable, reliable guided projectile for the U.S. Army with Excalibur Ia and Ib that consistently meets and exceeds warfighter requirements.”

Italian firm Oto Melara is also reported to be submitting its 127 mm Vulcano guided long-range projectile, according to a report in Jane’s Defence Weekly. Responses to the RFI are due to NAVSEA by Wednesday.

  • Tony

    Oto Melara’s Vulcano (and there is a 76MM version too) has been for sale for YEARS – surely it was at least “good enough” to avoid wasting the MILLIONS we have so far wasted in developing a new guided round! the USN will spend any amount of money to develop a “perfect” and “invented AND manufactured here” solution rather than license an existing 90% solution.

  • John Lyman

    In 1981, my ship, the destroyer USS KINKAID (DD 965), commissioned in 1976, went through an overhaul at Long Beach Naval Shipyard. One of the line items in the overhaul package was the alteration of two five-inch projectile lockers, one each in the forward and aft magazine spaces, to take the significantly longer “guided projectiles” that were then under test and expected to be purchased and deployed in the “near future.” Right. Never happened. So, apparently this technology has been around in some form since 1981, must have been improved and tweaked and otherwise mil-speced since then, and yet we are still only talking about considering it.

    While we are at it (here comes more heresy), what is the expected range of an eleven or twelve-inch saboted terminally-guided extended range projectile fired from a sixteen-inch/50 gun? If we are going to reach out and touch someone, let’s REALLY reach out!

  • Vincent Vandersnick

    The USS Briscoe DD 977 did a tech and op eval on the semi active laser guided projectile (Sal GP) in the early 80’s. One shot kills on moving tanks at 20 miles. The Navy needs to look at it’s old projects.

  • Secundius

    If you squeeze 155mm (6,1-inch) LRLAP projectile into a 127mm (5-inch) LRLAP
    projectile your reducing the effective range from 85nm of the 155mm LRLAP projectile to just over 57nm for the 127mm LRLAP projectile. Won’t it just be easier to up-gun existing ARLEIGH BURKE class Destroyers with the Rhinemetall 155mm/52-caliber (6.1-inch) gun mount used in the ZUMWALT class Destroyer. I think it would more cost effective and the tests have already been performed on Dutch Destroyer/Frigate classes already using the Mk. 45 127mm/54-caliber (5-inch) gun mounts.

  • Secundius

    The US Navy might want to bring back a project dropped back in the last ’70s. Which was an automated 203.2mm/55-caliber (8-inch) Mk.70 gun mount, proposed for the then new SPRUANCE and KIDD classes Destroyers. It was successfully tested on the GERING class Destroyer at the time, but was later dropped because of funding. But new advances in technology, it might be worth reconsidering for the ARLEIGH BURKE class Destroyers

  • Secundius

    An LRLAP or Long-Range, Land Attack Projectile in 155mm (6.1-inch) gun delivery system. Would weight approximately 230-lbs, be approximately 88-inches long, and have a range of approximately 85-miles.

    If you scaled down the round, too a 127mm (5-inch) package. It would weigh approximately 154.5-lbs, be approximately 59-inches long, and have a range of
    approximately 57.1-miles.

    If you up-gunned current ARLEIGH BURKE class Destroyers to mount a 155mm (6.1-inch) gun system. It would be munitions compatible with Marine Corps M198, M777, M109 PALADIN gun systems. Including the LRLAP round.

  • justin

    My gun shoot!! 😀

    (and its 62 caliber…..)

  • Secundius

    My Bad, The Rheinmetall evaluation claimed 52-calibers, must have been a typo error
    on either the writer or the publisher.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    These ‘extended range’ and ‘guided’ shells programs have had more deaths and rebirths than the F-35’s “second engine” program!

  • Rob C.

    Hopefully the USN will find a good candidate of munition to be able more accurate fire support. From my understanding, the 155mm mounted on the Zumwalt-Class aren’t able provide anti-ship protection, just fire-support for shore. Is this correct?

  • Secundius

    There are a number of specialized munitions that can be fired from a 155mm (6.1-inch) gun tube! Like the Copperhead round, the LRLAP round, just as examples.

  • Secundius

    The 127mm/54-caliber Volcano, Guided Munitions Round, only has a range of ~54-nm. And because of its size and weight, it has a firing rate of ~10 per minute.

  • Secundius

    The Oto Melera Volcano Munitions Round in, 5-inch caliber only has a range of 54-nm. That bring the range down to approximate 20-nm. in, 3-inch caliber round. The only way the 3-inch Volcano round would be effective is, if the enemy is not fire back at you. And in a shore bombardment role, what are the chances of that happening.

  • I think thisk, like the UCASS and LaWS are just ways of working early integration of more advanced long term weapon systems into the fleet to work out command and control kinks. Crawl, Walk, Run. These are the crawl, a high stealth strike UCASS, Free-Electron Laser and EMRG will be the run…